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Stealth NIAC Forum

Keith's note: According to the last page of NASA INNOVATIVE ADVANCED CONCEPTS (NIAC), PHASE I APPENDIX NNH15ZOA0001N-NIAC_A3", 21 August 2015: "7. NIAC Virtual Q&A Forum NASA will host a virtual forum that will address key aspects of this Appendix. The date targeted for this forum is tentatively Wednesday, September 9, 2015. Specific details for the forum will be posted on the following website:"

Despite the language in the Appendix, there is no mention of this event at This page NIAC Key Dates refers to the release of the August 2015 appendix release as "planned" and makes no mention of this forum. This page on the forum (mentioned in today's last minute email but not findable from the Technology Directorate home page) only appeared on 9 September 2015.

This note was sent out from on 9 September 2015 at 11:59 am EDT for an event scheduled for 3 pm EDT on 9 September 2015 (that's 3 hours advanced notice): "On September 9, 2015, 3 PM EDT, the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program office in NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) will be hosting a Virtual Forum to address key aspects in Appendix NNH15ZOA0001N-NIAC_A3, released on August 21, 2015 which solicits Phase I proposals."

The @NASAIAC fan Twitter account run by one of NIAC's own official advisors (NASA NIAC has no official Twitter account) makes no mention at all of this solicitation or forum. The official @NASA_Technology Twitter account did make mention on 8 September 2015 however - but only once and only 24 hours in advance.

Little or no advanced notice - and no obvious mention at What good are these events if no one knows about them?

NASA - Lunar IceCube to Take on Big Mission From Small Package

"In what scientists say signals a paradigm shift in interplanetary science, NASA has selected a shoebox-size mission to search for water ice and other resources from above the surface of the moon."

Marc's note: CubeSats for deep-space exploration is an exciting new aspect of space exploration. It opens space exploration to more participants at a much lower cost. Combined with an eventual lower cost in launch through reusability, this could lead to a proliferation of new missions.

NASA FISO Presentation: Inflatable Antenna for CubeSats

"Now available is the May 6, 2015 NASA Future In-Space Operations (FISO) telecon material. The speaker was Alessandra Babuscia (NASA JPL) who discussed "Inflatable Antenna for CubeSats".

Marc's note: Harley Thronson of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and Dan Lester of the University of Texas, to their credit, have been holding almost regular weekly "Future In-Space Operations (FISO) Working Group Presentations" since 2006.

Super-Black Nano-Coating to Be Tested for the First Time in Space, NASA

"An emerging super-black nanotechnology that promises to make spacecraft instruments more sensitive without enlarging their size will be tested for the first time on the International Space Station within a year."

NASA Exploration Technology Review - AIAA Space 2014, SpaceRef Business

"At this years AIAA Space 2014 conference NASA provided a panel of experts to discuss their Exploration Technology. The panel focused on the importance of sustained space technology investments to current and future explorations missions with special emphasis on future asteroid and Mars mission requirements. The panelists also discussed recent technology project successes and challenges."

NASA Holds Briefing on New Planetary Landing Technology, SpaceRef

"Today NASA held a briefing on its recent Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) project test. LDSD is a rocket-powered, saucer-shaped test vehicle which may be used on future planetary missions."

Yes, Virginia, You Will Be Able to Download your iTunes on Mars, Eventually, SpaceRef

"Our world is becoming rapidly connected and as humanity ventures off planet they will take their appetites for LOLz, cat memes, silly YouTube videos, and iTunes with them making a need for space-based internet and other broadband services a reality according to panelists speaking on "The Future of Space-Based Communications" at the AIAA SPACE 2014 Forum in San Diego."

NIAC Announces Five Phase II Funded Concepts, SpaceRef Business

"Looking ahead to an exciting future, NASA is continuing to invest in concepts that may one day revolutionize how we live and work in space with the selection of five technology proposals for continued study under the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program."

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope Sunshield Stacks Up to Test, NASA

"The Sunshield on NASA's James Webb Space Telescope is the largest part of the observatory--five layers of thin membrane that must unfurl reliably in space to precise tolerances. Last week, for the first time, engineers stacked and unfurled a full-sized test unit of the Sunshield and it worked perfectly."

National Research Council Report Says It's Too Soon for 3-D Printing to Significantly Enhance Space Operations, SpaceRef Business

"A National Research Council report, 3D Printing in Space, says it's too soon for 3-D Printing to significantly enhance space operations. Released today, the report includes several recommendations including that NASA and the Air Force should jointly cooperate, possibly with other agencies and industry, "to to research, identify, develop, and gain consensus on standard qualification and certification methodologies for different applications."

"Many of the claims made in the popular press about this technology have been exaggerated." said Robert Latiff, chair of the committee that wrote the report, president of Latiff Associates, and a former Air Force Major General. "For in-space use, the technology may provide new capabilities, but it will serve as one more tool in the toolbox, not a magic solution to tough space operations and manufacturing problems. However, right now NASA and the Air Force have a tremendous resource in the form of the International Space Station," Latiff added. "Perfecting this technology in space will require human interaction, and the Space Station already provides the infrastructure and the skilled personnel who can enable that to happen."

Related: Too Soon for 3-D Printing to Significantly Enhance Space Operations, Report Says, National Research Council

Made In Space 3D Printer Gets Green Light from NASA for Launch, SpaceRef Business

Reader note:"I was at the DRC all week. NASA showed up with the most awesome/expensive looking tracker/trailer.  It had a custom paint job, new custom "pelican" cases for all equipment, a fold out tent on the side, and a $15K Cadillac golf cart (image). The team, if you view their videos had 50+ workers, a high-bay work area, a specialize sewing team and a seemingly unlimited tax payer funded budget. Here's photo of it next to the Google buses." Larger image

-NASA JSC's Valkyrie Robot Tied For Last Place in DARPA Competition, earlier post
- No One is in the Driver's Seat at NASA, earlier post
- NASA JSC Has Developed A Girl Robot in Secret (Revised With NASA Responses), earlier post, earlier post

More pictures below

Keith's 30 Oct 4:52 pm note: What is It claims to be "a collaboration platform to foster open discussion about technology across NASA and its external innovation community. This is the place for you to rethink and reinvent existing research, learn about NASA technology, and shape the conversation about future NASA innovation. We post information about NASA's inventions and technology focus areas. You join other technology experts, researchers, and innovators in conversation about this NASA technology. We challenge you to think about new ways to use NASA inventions, share a new perspective to encourage innovation, and inspire new ideas."

But in order to see what they do you have to login by giving them access to your Twitter account. If you create a new user account you are asked to add a picture of yourself and provide other social media account information. If you are under 13 you are told to get your parent's permission. Once you get in - well, no one is there. If you go to "The Buzz" touted as a "real time news feed" other than "njaiuto" and "colin_graham" who visited last year (apparently) no one is home. Yet someone regularly operates their Twitter account @InnovateDotNASA. They have an up to date Facebook page too.

None of the usual (and required) responsible official or contact names are included on this website. No mention is made of this site from any NASA technology websites at NASA HQ. The site says "Innovate.NASA is the web-based component of NASA's Innovation Ecosystem--an agency-wide initiative to foster technology innovation." The NASA Innovation Ecosystem page explains little about itself and seems to be a year out of date. It refers to "(In)novation Partners" except there are none. When you go to the contact us link you get "access denied". And so on.

The Innovation Ecosystem page is run by NASA CIO so maybe they are responsible for But what is this website supposed to do if no one visits it? Why is this information hidden behind a firewall that requires usernames and logins? How much did it cost to create - and now - how much does it cost to maintain this NASA website - that no one uses?

Keith's 30 Oct 9:42 pm update: Several readers have noticed that the site's firewall/login has been lowered. Gee, what a coincidence. Isn't it pathetic that NASA spent all this money on this site and then let it sit dormant -- and only when they got caught with their pants down did they start to get active. Makes you wonder if this site is even needed given that no one noticed it until I posted some snarky observations.

Keith's 2 Nov update: The website now has this message: "Our site is currently under construction, but we will be re-launching soon. Stay tuned..." Despite repeated requests, the NASA CIO has refused to respond to all inquiries about this website. I guess its FOIA time.

NASA Technology That Can't Link To Itself, earlier post

Keith's note: NASA Office of the Chief Technologist has no link to NASA Tech Briefs. NASA Tech Briefs does not link to NASA OCT. In fact, I did a search of the source HTML code on the NASA Techbriefs home page. There are no links to anything at whatsoever. Yet this page features the NASA logo. Baffling.

NASA Engages the Public to Discover New Uses for Out-of-this-World Technologies

"NASA has joined forces with the product development startup Marblar for a pilot program allowing the public to crowdsource product ideas for forty of NASA's patents. This initiative will allow Marblar's online community to use a portion of NASA's diverse portfolio of patented technologies as the basis of new product ideas."

Keith's note: There is no mention of this overt technology news item from the other day on NASA's main Technology page. Given that Congress is already looking for vulnerable accounts with easy money to solve their budget problems next year (paying for SLS, Commercial Crew, Space Science) and the long knives are already out to carve up NASA's technology budget windfall and use it to solve other problems. If NASA cannot do a better job coordinating its technology portfolio and explain what it does with the technology money it has already gotten, then perhaps that money could be better spent on projects that the agency can explain - and justify.

Keith's update: @NASA-Technology noted that they have a list that collects all of NASA's technology Twitter account tweets. Its a start - but NASA still needs to coordinate its various technology efforts much better than it currently does. This list does not include coverage of @innovateDotNASA which is operated by And I still find it unfathomable that NASA allows NASA Tech Briefs to continue to utterly ignore NASA - all while using "NASA" in its name and its logo as well.

- Another NASA Technology Data Dump No One Will Know About, earlier post
- NASA Praises a Spinoff That It Has Already Dumped, earlier post
- Bursting The NASA Spinoff Myth, earlier post
- More Stealth NASA Spinoffs, earlier post



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